Making value the cornerstone of sustainable development
The government wants investors to partner with local entrepreneurs to create jobs and industry, generate taxes to fund social services and infrastructure
Ghana Investment Promotion Centre’s CEO, Yofi Grant, talks about government measures to position Ghana as the preferred investment destination in the region, and the private sector’s role in the country’s transformation agenda.
World Investment News (WI): What improvements have been made to position Ghana as the preferred investment destination in the region?
Yofi Grant (YG): We are actively engaged in the investment climate and carrying out business reforms. Additionally, I think the economy itself, through strong fiscal discipline and consolidation, is being repositioned for stable, sustainable and irreversible growth. This is where the country currently finds itself, and we believe that we are not far from achieving our vision of becoming the region’s preferred investment destination.
Between 2016 and 2017, we saw quite an uptake on foreign direct investment (FDI), and before I came into office in 2016, the total FDI was US$3.6 billion; we targeted US$5 billion for 2017, and achieved US$4.9 billion, which is not far off the target. We are therefore optimistic about achieving our objectives. The most important thing is that Ghana is a resource-rich country, and we have come out with very aggressive policies behind these resources that will change the structure of our economy and present significant opportunities for investment. We believe that economic development should be private sector-led, and this can be seen from our policies.
A good example is the One District, One Factory policy, through which we plan to establish a value-added processing factory in each of the 254 districts, and this is a first and major step in the country’s industrialisation process which will help us reposition Ghana as regional hub.
The One District, One Factory initiative is constructive in the sense that it will create many jobs for young people across all the country’s districts. To kick-start this One District, One Factory policy, we have aligned it with a new policy called the “free Senior High School policy”, or “free SHS”. Our intention is that the future minimum educational level of every Ghanaian will be secondary school level. Thanks to the implementation of this policy, 90,000 students were added to the education sector last year, and this year it is expected that another 80,000 children will have a senior high school education, which is key to the country’s future.
The most important thing we aim to achieve as an attractive investment destination is the realisation that we need FDI to partner with local entrepreneurs and local talent in order to develop the economy.
WI: What role are private investors expected to play, and what opportunities exist for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)?
YG: Many of the projects that are currently in the pipeline will be private sector-led. This will ensure correct pricing and delivery because the government is a partner in these key projects, and this is where you will see the PPP scheme best at play. The government will provide the land and the utilities, and the private sector will provide the capital and the management to make sure these are efficiently run institutions.
WI: How is your office striving to encourage and cultivate trust, enthusiasm and participation from foreign and local companies?
YG: First of all, you have to make sure that the rules are clear, transparent and accessible. We are creating awareness and getting our message across. We are the gateway for investors who are looking to come to Ghana; and we don’t just register them, we want to have a long-term relationship with investors, and help them achieve their investment. With more investment into the country comes more job creation, more established industries and more tax generation, which helps the country expand its social services and infrastructure for the benefit of the people and the sustainable development of the country. GIPC does not see investment as a one-time event; we want investors to stay for the long haul.